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March 1, 2008
A Canadian responds to Obama and Hillary's NAFTA threat (updated)
Here is my take on the Democratic rhetoric in all of this: did you know there is no pipeline going from west to east in Canada? Ontario, Quebec and the Maraitime provinces get most of their oil from foreign supplies. We are net exporters of energy (we sell more than we buy), this also includes electricity by the way. ( I live in Quebec)
Watching Obama and Hillary treating Nafta like it was a deal with the Taliban is insulting to all Canadians. I hope either of these morons wins the election, so we Canadians can get out of that treaty, Canadian oil for Canadians. Let the American bastards freeze in the dark. China will probably buy our oil, you think? We are one of the few countries in the world whose soldiers are dying in the deserts of Afghanistan, we respected our NATO deal, "An attack on one, is an attack on all..." Check with your German and French friends how many of their soldiers died in Afghanistan.
I was in Dallas a couple of weeks ago and I respect and enjoy the company of my neighbours to the south. But you want to treat us like [deleteded], well, [deleted] you and I'll drink a Cuba Libre on the beaches of Varadero while you go hat in hand looking for oil to put in your SUV's. And by the way, we have better labor and environment laws than you will EVER have.
Update -- Another Canadian writes us:
Election rhetoric is just that: rhetoric. Recent Democratic comments about NAFTA are laughable and embarrassing for both candidates because they display their ignorance of trade in North America. We are America's #1 trading partner measured in import and export of goods. In fact I believe that the amount of trade between our 2 countries exceeds the next few down the line, with China being a fraction of the amount. This is of course not to mention the mutually beneficial movement of human talent in both directions across our border.
The presence of the Alberta tar sands, east coast gas projects, along with an integrated power grid allows the movement of energy seamlessly around the continent. Canada is the #1 supplier of energy to the US and has retained that title for some years now. We have something to sell, and there is a market close by to be served. Imagine that.
What is laughable about the entire situation is that pointing a finger at NAFTA will somehow hide a couple of glaring problems that will be faced by the next President. Attacking NAFTA will not help with immigration issues and a porous southern border. Attacking NAFTA will not add manufacturing jobs in sectors which are losing those jobs to overseas markets with cheaper labor and lower labor standards and benefits. I might add that if the 2 Senators bothered to have one of their minions look at a Canadian paper, they might discover that, surprise, our manufacturing sector is suffering too. An advancing currency and competitive forces in labor from around the globe are hitting here as well.
It's too bad that we have a few hacks in this country but what can you do? Insults from a member of a province that would be bankrupt without large government funding from the rest of the country, particularly subsidies from oil rich Alberta known as "transfer or equalization payments" is rather ironic. Indeed without federal government handouts and American tourists what would Quebec do for revenue? Perhaps the individual in question could ask why his own provincial government was willing to sell that precious power he mentioned to his friends south of the border at a cheaper price than they charged their own citizens and taxpayers (who theoretically own Hydro Quebec). That's loyalty for you.
As a Canadian I know that I benefit from our long standing relationship in trade, culture and history. As a matter of fact I can't think of one person I know that doesn't. Perhaps the Senators will get around to examining the relationship that they might foster with their single largest trading partner. I would be willing to bet that they wouldn't treat their biggest financial contributors with the same mendacity . But hey. It's just politics as usual.
And another Canadian writes:
Re: "A Canadian responds to Obama and Hillary's NAFTA threat". I am a Canadian, and a Quebecer and I certainly don't share the author's views of Americans on the subject of Hillary and Obama's threats to re-negotiate NAFTA. While I think NAFTA is good for Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., it could be improved.
I had to laugh at this line "Let the American bastards freeze in the dark". That was a crude paraphrase taken from Ralph Klein, then Mayor of Calgary, who said "Let the eastern bastards freeze in the dark". It was in response to the federal government's attempt to take-over western Canada's oil patch, and was known as the National Energy Program (NEP). Some Albertans felt that the NEP was passed to benefit central and eastern Canada only. This program is still viewed by the majority of Albertans as the rape of Alberta.
I do understand the author's sentiment because under NAFTA, western Canada cannot supply eastern Canada, even if a crisis hit and they were freezing in the dark. NAFTA reserves western Canada's oil for Americans’ security of supply.
The Polaris Institute reports; "Indeed, Alberta has plenty of oil, more than enough to meet eastern Canadians’ needs, and export surpluses. But Alberta cannot supply eastern Canada, even if a crisis hit and they were freezing in the dark, because NAFTA reserves Alberta’s oil for Americans’ security of supply. Although Canada is a net exporter of oil, we import almost one million barrels per day to meet 90% of Quebec’s and Atlantic Canada’s needs, and 40% of Ontario’s. At the same time, Canada exports 63% of its oil and 56% of its natural gas production to the US. Those export levels are currently locked in place by NAFTA’s proportionality clause, which states that Canada must continue exporting the same proportion of oil and gas as in the past three years, even if Canadians run short."
(See http://www.polarisinstitute.org/an_energy_security_plan_for_canada_dont_let_the_eastern_bastards_freeze_in_the_dark ) for a better picture of the situation.
All I can say to Hillary and Obama is, be careful what you wish for, it might come true.